House Democrats still want to raise taxes at a time the state has billions of surplus dollars and Gov. Tim Walz hasn’t fully given up his emergency powers even though there is no state emergency.
In other words, it’s been more of the same this week in St. Paul. The difference is we are running out of time before our May 17 date for adjournment and the House majority’s insistence on raising taxes remains a huge dealbreaker in negotiating a budget.
But here they are, continuing to push a highly partisan budget that includes tax increases on gasoline, license tabs, Main Street businesses, and middle-class Minnesotans in general. These provisions are completely unnecessary and have zero chance of passing the Senate, where every budget bill in that body has earned bipartisan support and tax increases are absent.
The House majority should just get over the fact their tax increases are not going to happen and move on to negotiating a more reasonable, bipartisan budget that funds our priorities without raising taxes on people trying to recover from income they lost over the last year.
Speaking of lost income, the man who caused much of it, Gov. Tim Walz, announced this week he is loosening restrictions he placed on our state. While I am glad he is doing so, it’s hard to praise someone for giving back our God-given freedoms that he himself took away.
He can “loosen” restrictions all he wants, but it’s not enough. We need his emergency powers to end now. Or, at the very least, we need a transparent and concrete process for ending Minnesota’s peacetime emergency that has been in place for more than one year.
The plain fact is our state is not facing and emergency and the governor’s emergency powers should have been long gone by now. Yet the governor still has not laid out a clear plan for how we put his executive orders to rest and altogether bring an end to his emergency powers. People are really wondering what is going on, why he is clinging to his emergency powers even though there’s no emergency.
The best thing the governor could do is to put his cards on the table and work with the Legislature to develop a clear blueprint for our return to normal and restoring balance in our government. The only thing his delays will serve to do is create more distrust in the governor and become an even bigger reckless abuse of power.
House Republicans have voted nearly 20 times to end the peacetime emergency and have put forward numerous proposals to end or modify the governor’s Chapter 12 powers, as well as proposals to establish timelines and metrics that would end the peacetime emergency. Democrats have refused to advance those proposals in the House, and have even stonewalled proposals from their own party to wind down the Governor’s emergency powers.
Look for more news as we make our way through the final week and a half of session. Until then, have a happy Mother’s Day.